[a short story inspired by my father, written for Two of the Deadliest]
…landing strips in Bush Alaska weren’t that hard to come by, and he found one mere minutes after he started looking, a pale scar on a leveled-off foothill at the mouth of a canyon carved out by a rushing, unruly creek. There were the remains of some buildings barely visible through the birch and the spruce, and the place looked deserted.
He dropped down to fifty feet and made a pass down the strip, inspecting the surface. Someone had cleared it not too long before. He banked, turned and sideslipped into a landing that he was a little sorry no one was there to see.
The 172 rolled to a stop and he opened the door and got out. Movement caught the corner of his eye and his first thought was a bear. He reached for the .30-06 in the back.
“Step away from the plane,” a voice said.
He smelled him before he saw him, a thin man who hadn’t shaved in a month and who hadn’t showered in longer than that. He was dressed in a pair of ragged shorts and he held a pump-action twelve-gauge shotgun, the business end pointed at the Cessna.
“Whoa,” Gil said, raising his hands, palms out. “I just stopped to take a leak.”
Author and founder of Storyknife.org.